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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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BR.jpg Our partner Ben Rubinowitz, assisted by Peter Saghir, obtained a verdict of $7,125,000 against the City of New York and its construction company, Burtis Construction Co., Inc. following a 17 day trial.

The plaintiff, a 41-year-old man and father of three young children, was returning home from work in the early morning hours of May 20, 2006. Six weeks earlier his wife had given birth to a baby girl via C section. His other two children included a four-year-old boy and a two-year-old boy. He worked as a film editor and was self employed. On the night of the accident the plaintiff left his midtown Manhattan workplace at around 3 o’clock in the morning. Unbeknownst to the plaintiff, the City of New York and its construction company (Burtis Construction Co., Inc.) were performing road repair work on the West Side Highway. They were involved in a short term construction project to repair expansion joints along the West Side Highway in the vicinity of 72nd to 79th Streets. As part of its contract with the City, the construction company was required to properly notify drivers that the roadway was being shut down from three lanes to one lane of travel. This closure of the roadway was supposed to be performed in conformance with the dictates of the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices and with the Maintenance and Protection of Traffic Plan spelled out by the City of New York in the contract. Specifically, appropriate signs should have been placed along the highway south of the roadwork along with tapers and transitions of barrels fitted with lights to notify and warn drivers that the left two lanes were being shut down. When the plaintiff left his office to drive home he drove northbound on the Westside Highway. As he reached the area of 79th St. he was involved in a fender bender with another car. He got out to check to make sure that everyone was alright. He then returned to his car to put on his hazard lights on and to obtain his insurance information to exchange with the other driver. Shortly after getting his insurance information and while he was out of his car he was struck from behind by another driver, Abelardo Da-Silva.
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fatalities%20passenger%20vans.png15-passengers vans have a high risk of rollover accidents and this risk increases as the number of occupants increases. Overloaded vans, inexperienced drivers, improperly inflated tires are the main cause of van accidents. Passenger van crashes have a very high rate of fatal injuries as 88% of passengers don’t buckle up.

As the summer is coming and friends, groups and families are planning their road trips, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just published a list of tips for safe travel in 15-passenger vans.

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Car accidents as well as truck and bus accidents, are a common cause of cervical disc herniation especially those during which an abrupt change of speed ocurrs. Seat belts and airbags in cars are designed to prevent this type of personal injury. During a vehicle collision, the weight of the head being moved quickly or violently forward and/or backward produces tremendous pressure on the cervical vertebrae (neck) and can cause the disc to bulge or herniate.

Basically each intervertebral disc has two parts, the annulus fibrosus and the nucleus pulposus. The annulus fibrosus is made up of layers of fibrous tissue. It surrounds the nucleus pulposus and serves as a retaining sheath of dense fibrous tissue which keep the nucleus under pressure. The nucleus pulposus which is retained within the annulus fibrosus has a mucoid character and consistency similar to grissle and acts like a fluid. Herniation occurs when the nucleus pulposus protrudes or ruptures through the surrounding annulus fibrosus.

In this video, Dr Nabil Ebraheim, Professor and Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at The University of Toledo, explains what a disc herniation is and how it affects other parts of the upper body.

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In this New York motorcycle accident case, our partner, Christopher L. Sallay, won summary judgment on behalf of the plaintiff. Justice Arlene P. Bluth held that plaintiff demonstrated their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by establishing that the defendant violated New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1141 when she made a left turn directly into the plaintiff’s path.

To read the full decision click here.

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Use of cell phones or other electronic devices while driving is dangerous and can cause fatal car accidents. Most drivers know this but they still use their cell phones or other mobile devices to text, look at travel directions, check their emails, consult their calendar appointments, surf the web or play video games.

According to the latest National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) “Driver Electronic Device Use in 2011“, texting or manipulating an hand held device while driving significantly increased from 2010 to 2011.

The trend is particularly alarming among young drivers and women.

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In New York, as a result of traumatic brain injuries 385 people per day visit emergency rooms or are hospitalized as inpatients. 140,000 New Yorkers are injured every year, that’s 3 times the capacity of Yankees Stadium!

The main cause of traumatic brain injuries are falls and motor vehicle accidents, mostly car accidents but motorcycle accidents as well as bus and truck accidents are also a common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Assault is the third cause of TBI in New York. Other leading causes of brain injuries include bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents or people struck by or against type of accidents.

Here are some findings based on the most recent statistics from the New York State Department of Health Department

– New Yorkers above 65 year old are the most at risk to fall and be hospitalized for a traumatic brain injury.

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The talus bone is one of the most important bones of the ankle joint. It is the rounded bone at the top of the foot. Because of its location, the talus can be easily fractured after falls from heights such as falls from ladders and scaffolds in construction accidents or after a severe impact to the foot such as those caused by a motorcycle, a truck or a car accident. Some subtle fractures can be misdiagnosed as ankle strains as the symptoms are very similar: acute pain, swelling and bruising. A talus injury can severely limit the ability to walk and bear weight. Delays in treatment can result in long term disability and surgery.

In the following video segment, Dr Nabil Ebraheim, Professor and Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at The University of Toledo Medical Center, demonstrates the different types of talus fractures.

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In this video New York Car Accident Attorney Anthony Gair discusses how to take a meaningful deposition in a car accident case. This video is part of a New York State Bar Association program designed for the attorney seeking a fundamental but practical overview of handling an auto accident case. A representative case is reviewed from inception to conclusion from both the plaintiff and defense attorney perspective. The step-by-step practical aspects of the case are presented by experienced attorneys to demonstrate both the practical aspects of each phase of the litigation as well as the overall thought process behind each phase leading to the ultimate resolution.
To order the complete course video and course book for CLE credit go to…

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By Anthony H. Gair
Preparing the plaintiff for deposition in a personal injury action is perhaps the most neglected element in personal injury cases. Before the plaintiff’s deposition is conducted, the defendant’s counsel has been served with a Bill of Particulars, has obtained all available medical records and police reports and has visited the scene. That information will be used during the plaintiff’s deposition. How do you prepare your plaintiff. Some basic rules are worth remembering.

Rule 1. – Know Your Plaintiff

Your plaintiff’s knowledge and his ability to testify as to the occurrence will often be directly related to his status regarding the claim made. In the case of an automobile accident, the plaintiff will be either a driver, passenger or pedestrian.

Unless it is a case where proof of a prima facie case will come from other than the plaintiff (and, in most cases, even if it will), the plaintiff must be prepared to testify at least sufficiently to make out a prima facie case.

Your client must be as thoroughly prepared as possible. This means taking the plaintiff to the scene of the accident prior to his deposition if possible. It means making certain that the plaintiff knows the basic facts and has been ingrained to repeat them in response to any question concerning them. It means familiarizing your plaintiff with concepts of time, space and direction. Most importantly, it means preparing your plaintiff with the same degree of diligence and concern as you would if he or she were about to testify at trial rather than at deposition.

Do not try to create abilities to answer which simply are not there. Train, teach and educate on the essential elements of the case. Don’t worry about the minor details. If you concentrate on those, your plaintiff may get the minutiae correct and blow the case out of the water by not responding properly to the important questions.

Rule 2. – “I Don’t Know”/”I Don’t Remember”

For reasons most likely inbred in us during our elementary school education, most people, including injured plaintiffs, seem to have an overwhelming desire to answer whatever questions might be asked of them, whether they know the answer or not. You must teach the plaintiff the concept of being able to respond “I don’t know” when such is the case or “I don’t remember”, when such is the case. Of course, this does not mean that the client should be asserting that he or she does not know or remember if he or she were injured. It does, however, mean that the plaintiff should be trained not to throw out an answer simply because a question is asked. And the plaintiff must be taught the difference between not remembering and not knowing. This is particularly important in cases where memory might be refreshed following a deposition. Memory can be refreshed; knowledge cannot be. The basic rule is that the plaintiff must be told not to guess if he doesn’t know the answer to a question. It must be explained to the plaintiff that the deposition will be used to impeach him at the time of trial.

Rule 3. – An Adversary Is Not A Buddy

Explain to the plaintiff that the attorney who is doing the questioning is not his best friend. That smiling amicable, nice man or woman on the other side of the table, regardless of the charm and warmth shown during the deposition, will not invite your client to dinner that night and is there only to destroy his case. You know that. Remind your client of it. Also, we work in a small community and know many of our adversaries. If you want to have a friendly chat with an old friend do it after the deposition and never in front of the plaintiff.
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